Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gulf oil spill proves we all live in an urban wilderness

I hit a solid wall of backed up traffic the moment I turned onto the Ontario Street entrance to the Kennedy Expressway. The jam continued on for miles and didn’t ease up until the Edens split off from the Kennedy. On the other side of the median, traffic coming into Chicago for Saturday evening activities was even worse. As we crept along my friends and I reflected on our enjoyable afternoon seeing ArtChicago. It didn’t occur to me to think about all the gasoline that my car burned, let alone the imponderable amount of oil that was being consumed all around us on this one highway in the one city out of all the cities and highways on this one day.

Meanwhile, an estimated 200,000 gallons of oil per day continues to gush to the surface of the gulf of Mexico off Louisiana. It will most likely become the worst oil spill in the nation’s history, with the potential to destroy marine, marsh, and coastline habitats from around the Gulf to North Carolina due to the interconnected ecology of the Gulf Stream system. We all live in an urban wilderness. The butterfly effect sounds ridiculous if you think about a single butterfly. Here's a more understandable parable. Everything is interconnected. Oil spills happen all the time. The size of this one makes it more newsworthy. But oil spills can ruin the environment with regularity as long as we can drive around without thinking of them as a consequence of our actions.

Coincidences can be such a pain! It’s a bit hard not to see this as some kind of global payback for the Obama’s decision to open up more coastline for drilling.

There is plenty of news coverage. I’ve read The New York Times and Associated Press accounts.

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